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Table of Contents > Drugs >  Betamethasone
Betamethasone
Pronunciation
Brand Names
Foreign Brand Names
Therapeutic Categories
Reasons not to take this medicine
What is this medicine used for?
How does it work?
How is it best taken?
What do I do if I miss a dose?
What are the precautions when taking this medicine?
What are the common side effects of this medicine?
What should I monitor?
Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately
How should I store this medicine?
General statements

Pronunciation
(bay ta METH a sone)

Brand Names
Alphatrex®; Betatrex®; Beta-Val®; Celestone®; Celestone® Soluspan®; Diprolene®; Diprolene® AF; Diprosone®; Luxiq®; Maxivate®; Psorion®; Teladar®; Valisone®

Foreign Brand Names
Betnesol®[Disodium Phosphate] (Canada); Diprolene® Glycol [Dipropionate] (Canada); Occlucort® (Canada); Rhoprolene (Canada); Rhoprosone (Canada); Selestoject®[Sodium Phosphate] (Canada); Taro-Sone® (Canada); Topilene® (Canada); Topisone® (Canada)

Therapeutic Categories
Corticosteroid, Oral; Corticosteroid, Parenteral; Corticosteroid, Topical

Reasons not to take this medicine

  • If you have an allergy to betamethasone or any other part of the medicine.
  • If you have any fungal infections that attack the whole body.


What is this medicine used for?

  • This medicine is used for the treatment of inflammation areas in the body. This can include severe allergies, skin problems, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, organ transplantation, leukemias/lymphomas, brain swelling, ulcerative colitis, sarcoidosis, spinal cord injuries, Addison's disease, and arthritis.
  • This medicine is used in many diseases where the anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressant properties are needed. Talk with healthcare provider.
  • It is also used for a variety of skin conditions.


How does it work?

  • Betamethasone is a man-made form of an important chemical produced in the body.
  • Betamethasone puts down the body's response to the cause of the allergy. It reduces swelling, redness, itching, and other symptoms of allergy.
  • It also decreases the body's reactions. Sometimes these reactions are harmful.


How is it best taken?

  • Oral:
    • Take with food. Take in the morning if you are taking this medicine once a day.
    • A liquid (syrup) is available if you cannot swallow pills. Those who have feeding tubes can also use the liquid. Flush the feeding tube before and after medicine is given.
    • Do not suddenly stop using this medicine if you have been taking it for a long time. Medicine should be slowly decreased.
  • Lungs:
    • For inhaling (puffing) only.
    • Check inhaler use with healthcare provider at each visit. Using the inhaler the right way is very important. It can get more medicine to the lungs.
    • Shake well first.
    • Spacer can be used with inhaler for easier delivery.
  • Skin:
    • Do not take by mouth. For skin only. Keep out of mouth, nose, and eyes (may burn).
    • Wash your hands before and after use.
    • Clean affected area before use.
    • Use a small amount over the area as a light film. Rub in gently.
    • Do not put coverings (bandages, dressings, make-up) over the area unless told to do so by healthcare provider.
    • To use on the scalp, part your hair. Apply medicine to affected area. Rub in gently. Let it dry. You may wash your hair as usual but not right after using medicine.


What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as possible.
  • If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one. Return to your regular schedule.
  • Do not take a double dose or extra doses.
  • Do not change dose or stop taking medicine without talking with healthcare provider.


What are the precautions when taking this medicine?

  • Oral:
    • Wear medical alert identification if you have asthma, lung disease, or are an allergy sufferer or if you are going to be on this medicine longer than 3-4 weeks.
    • Unless healthcare provider told you to stop, it is dangerous to run out of this medication. Get it refilled today!
    • Avoid alcohol (includes wine, beer, and liquor). Alcohol increases risk of stomach irritation and ulcers.
    • If you have had a stomach ulcer or bleeding, tell healthcare provider. Can cause ulcers.
    • Use caution if you have a weakened heart. Salt and water can accumulate. Talk with healthcare provider.
    • Use caution if you are diabetic. Diabetic medicine may need increasing. Talk with healthcare provider.
    • Use caution if you have high blood pressure. Your blood pressure may increase. Talk with healthcare provider.
    • Tell dentists, surgeons, and other healthcare providers about this medicine.
    • Tell healthcare provider if currently being treated for any infections.
  • All forms:
    • Tell healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected you. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, throat; or any other symptoms involved.
    • Tell healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.
    • Tell healthcare provider if you are breast-feeding.


What are the common side effects of this medicine?

  • Oral:
    • Risk of infection. Avoid crowds and people with infections, colds, or flu.
    • High blood sugar. Can cause diabetes mellitus while on medicine, usually reverses when stopped.
    • For women, menstrual changes. Premenopausal women may not have a period. Postmenopausal women may have bleeding or spotting.
    • Weakened bones. Take calcium and vitamin D as recommended by healthcare provider.
    • Weight gain. Salt and water gain or increased hunger.
    • Muscle weakness. You may notice it in your thighs and upper arms.
    • Skin changes, including pimples, stretch marks, slow healing, and hair growth.
    • Cataracts, glaucoma with long-term use.
    • Changes in fat distribution. Fat stores can move to face and back.
    • Belly pain and cramps.
    • Nausea or vomiting. Small frequent meals, frequent mouth care, sucking hard candy, or chewing gum may help.
  • Skin:
    • Burning, itching, dryness.


What should I monitor?

  • Oral:
    • If a child is using this medicine, monitor growth carefully.
    • Watch for swelling of legs or belly, shortness of breath, weight gain, exercise tolerance. If any of these worsen, talk with healthcare provider.
    • Report a 3-5 pound weight gain.
    • Monitor blood sugar as ordered by healthcare provider. Signs of high blood sugar include many trips to the bathroom, thirst, and weight loss.
    • Watch for signs of infection.
  • Lungs:
    • If a child is using this medicine, monitor growth carefully.
    • Watch for changes in breathing. Is breathing better, worse, or about the same?
    • Check peak flow if you have asthma.
  • Skin:
    • Watch for change in condition. Is it better, worse, or about the same?


Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately

  • Signs of a life-threatening reaction. These include wheezing; tightness in the chest; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; fits; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Any signs or symptoms of infection. This may include a fever greater than 99 degrees, chills, sore throat, cough, increased sputum or change in color, painful urination, mouth sores, wound that will not heal, anal itching or pain.
  • For females, vaginal discharge or itching, or menstrual changes. This includes lots of bleeding, spotting, or bleeding between cycles.
  • Chest pains, fast heartbeats, shortness of breath, or decreased ability to walk.
  • Feeling weak, tired, irritable, trembling, having rapid heartbeats, confusion, sweating, dizziness, especially if you missed a dose or recently stopped this medicine.
  • Any rash.
  • No improvement in condition or feeling worse.
  • Skin:
    • Burning, swelling, or redness.


How should I store this medicine?

  • Store in a tight container at room temperature.


General statements

  • Do not share your medicine with others and do not take anyone else's medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription, herbal/supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter) with you. Give this list to healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, pharmacist, physician assistant).
  • Talk with healthcare provider before starting any new medicine, including over-the-counter or natural products (herbs, vitamins).


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